ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERICA FAST
The Tabor College Bluejays finished a long, hard week of volleyball by adding two more wins and a loss in KCAC play.
Tabor began the week Monday with a heartbreaking five-game loss to Southwestern, 23-30, 30-23, 29-31, 30-28, 12-15.
Coach Amy Ratzlaff said losing the third game really took a toll on her team.
“If we could have pulled that one out, we would have been able to win in four and been done with it,” she said. “But anytime you go to five games, the fifth game is very much based on momentum.”
Ratzlaff said the Moundbuilders’ home-court advantage could have made the difference.
Senior Tesha Werth hit well for the night, coming up with 17 kills. She also had five ace serves.
Angela Kroeker had nine kills, Adri Friesen eight kills, Laura Campbell eight kills, four aces and four blocks, and Erin Loewen had seven kills and four aces.
Thursday, the women beat rival Bethel College in Hillsboro, 27-30, 30-26, 30-28, 24-30, 15-10.
“I felt like both teams played a great match,” Ratzlaff said. “Bethel fought hard, we fought hard. It was just good volleyball-not very many errors on either side. If there were errors, they were aggressive errors, which makes for good volleyball.”
Angela Kroeker had 19 kills, Werth 18 and Campbell 17.
Werth added 27 digs, Loewen 20, Carmen Hein 19, Sara Haggard 14 and Morissa Seidl 11.
Friesen had four blocks while Werth contributed three.
In serving, Kroeker had four aces and Hein three. Haggard had 63 assists for the night.
Ratzlaff said the defense really stepped up against the Threshers. She commended the play of Friesen for her blocking, and middlebacks Seidl and Hein for a great overall game.
“They played excellent defense, probably the best defense I’ve seen them both play this year,” Ratzlaff said. “When they were back there, they were definitely doing their job. They picked up anything our front row didn’t block and kept us in it quite a number of times.”
On Saturday, the Bluejays defeated Kansas Wesleyan in Salina, 30-28, 27-30, 11-30, 30-22, 16-14.
Tabor started strong, but toward mid-match began to struggle.
“We started well and then the middle of the match we just could not get stuff to work for us,” Ratzlaff said. “Kansas Wesleyan was definitely playing some of the best volleyball I’ve seen them play. They could not make an error.”
But Ratzlaff said she was proud that her team was able to overcome the frustration and come back to win.
Werth had an outstanding night with 38 digs and 17 kills. Kroeker had 23 digs, 19 kills and two serving aces. Hein and Loewen each had two aces. Campbell had four blocks while Friesen and Haggard both had three.
“It’s just one of those games that you’re just glad it’s over with and we have the win and we just go on,” Ratzlaff said. “It’s bound to happen in volleyball that there’s something that’s a little bit crazy in the season, and that was it. We’re over it now.”
In addition to being named KCAC “Player of the Week” last week for the second time this season, Werth was also named “Player of the Week” for the region.
“It’s quite an accomplishment and an honor for her to receive (regional player of the week),” Ratzlaff said. “And it’s an honor for the team. It means that Tabor College is doing something right in order to have an athlete on the team recognized.”
The Bluejays look toward a big week of volleyball. Tuesday they faced Ottawa University with hopes of taking over the Braves’ regional standing. Thursday they’ll visit Friends University. Tabor is tied with the Falcons for second place in the conference.